tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS December 15, 2015 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
two big cities, two different responses to e-mailed terror threats. >> i made the decision to close the school. >> i think it was a significant over-reaction, yes. >> pelley: also tonight, the republicans debate terror and what to do about it. >> isis just wants to kill americans. >> pelley: it usually looks like this by now, so where's the snow in buffalo? and taking back the streets. >> why weren't you at church yesterday? >> pelley: why they don't mess with mama. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: this is our western edition. tonight, officials in los angeles are defending their decision to abruptly close the entire school system in response to a terror threat that turned out to be a hoax. the threat came less than two weeks after the attack in san bernardino less than 60 miles
critics of l.a. include the city's former police chief, who now heads the new york city police department and had a very different response to a similar threat today. here's jeff pegues. >> reporter: the e-mail to members of the los angeles school board was long and rambling. it was sent last night and threatened an attack with assault rifles on every school with bombs hidden in backpacks in lockers. the writer claimed he was part of a cell of 32 comrades willing to die, and "there is nothing you can do to stop it." new york city received a similar e-mail threat, but unlike los angeles, kept its schools open. police commissioner bill bratton said the threat was a hoax. >> the language in the e-mail would lead us to believe that this is not a jihadist initiative, for example, that allah was not spelled with a capital "a." that would be incredible to
"a." it is not something that we are concerned with. what we would be concerned with is over-reacting to it. >> reporter: los angeles police chief charlie beck defended l.a.'s decision to close the schools. >> i think it's irresponsible, based on facts that have yet to be determined, to criticize that decision at this point. all of us make tough choices. all of us have the same goal in mind-- we want to keep our kids safe. >> reporter: since the attacks in paris and san bernardino, police are on edge and intelligence officials say it is harder than ever to separate a credible threat from a hoax, especially with online propaganda from a variety of terror groups. experts say isis in particular sends anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 tweets a day. mike morrell is a former deputy director of the c.i.a. is a cbs news consultant.
getting specific or credible threat information mean what it used to mean? >> i think it's probably a little harder because there are so many more voices out there. >> reporter: social media. >> social media, right. there's isis itself, and then there's isis' supporters and you've got people saying different things and you've got people making different threats. so i think it's probably a little harder today to sort fact from fiction. >> reporter: investigators are still looking for the person who sent those e-mails. they were routed through a server in germany, and tonight the server's owner says he is cooperating with law enforcement. but, scott, he would not tell us if he knew where the e-mails originated. >> pelley: jeff pegues, thank you. well, wherever they originated, they shut down more than 1,000 schools in l.a., a school district second in population only to new york and covering
here's ben tracy. >> reporter: the robocall alert from the nation's second-largest school district went out at 6:32 a.m., idling hundreds of school buses and stopping parents and more than 640,000 students in their tracks. nicole scates' son, donovan, is in second grade. >> kind of scared but, you know, my immediate thought was just how i was going to talk to him about it. >> reporter: 11-year-old sullivanne montagu heard the news from her dad. >> he told me that it was a threat, possibly a bomb, and i got kind of nervous. >> reporter: los angeles unified school district superintendent ramon cortines said he was comfortable with his decision. >> somebody has sent information that leads us to pause and make sure that we are safe, that our children and our staff are safe. >> reporter: hundreds of law
deployed to campuses. police secured buildings, armored vehicles were mobilized, and every school in the district would be searched. given the terrorist attack less than two weeks ago in nearby san bernardino, los angeles mayor eric garcetti defended the decision to quickly close l.a.'s schools. >> we've just gone through a horrible experience of losing loved ones, of seeing that sort of horror right here in our backyard, and i think just as new york did after 9/11, boston after the marathon, there's an abundance caution that may be very regionally specific. >> reporter: 95% of l.a.'s public schools have now been searched and nothing suspicious has been found. scott, we are told that some parents are already receiving e- mails that their kids' schools will be open tomorrow morning. >> pelley: ben tracy in l.a. for us, thank you. terror is sure to be a topic at the republican presidential candidate debate tonight, the fifth, this one in las vegas. front-runner donald trump is
garrett is there. >> reporter: donald trump arrived in las vegas on a roll nationally, but trailing senator ted cruz in iowa. the two candidates are sharing center stage at the debate. at a rally here last night, trump ignored the iowa polls. >> so far, everyone that's attacked me has gone right down the tubes, so that's good. >> reporter: cruz told a las vegas radio show he will not turn on trump. >> reporter: but with voters more focused on terrorism, cruz will make the case trump isn't prepared to be commander in chief. so will new jersey governor chris christie, who was tapped to be u.s. attorney the day before the 9/11 attacks. >> you need to have the experience of actually having made these decisions. i've actually done it. this is not something where you get briefed in the basement of the capitol and you understand it. >> reporter: christi is surging in new hampshire, the contest right after iowa, and sees national security as an issue he
were we at greater risk then or are we at greater risk now? >> we're at greater risk now because of the enemy. al qaeda wanted to do big, monumental, symbolic type of attacks. isis just wants to kill americans, and so if a center for the developmentally disabled in san bernardino, california, is a target for terrorism, then every place in america is a target for terrorism. >> reporter: ben carson has, for the first time, taken the advice of campaign operatives, studied up, and will tonight present a comprehensive plan to defeat isis. scott, a top carson aid told us the change came about because, "sagging poll numbers tend to concentrate the mind." >> pelley: major garrett in vegas, not venice tonight, major, thank you. hillary clinton's mind was concentrated on terrorism today as well. she laid out her strategy for fighting isis and protecting the homeland. nancy cordes has that. >> and we will defeat these new enemies.
u.s. should start scrutinizing the social media postings of visa applicants. >> anyone who has traveled in the past five years to a country facing serious problems with terrorism and foreign fighters should have to go through a full visa investigation, no matter where they're from. >> reporter: clinton unveiled her proposals in minneapolis because it's home to the nation's largest somali community, a top target for isis recruiters. a quarter of americans who have tried to join isis came from minnesota. >> i don't think this reflects our community. >> reporter: city councilman abdi warsame is part of a new local task force that's trying to counter extremist propaganda. how hard is it to pinpoint who is being radicalized? >> they are usually young. they were either born here or grew up here or came as toddlers. they're unemployed. >> reporter: today, clinton called out republicans like donald trump and ted cruz who
sloganeering." >> promising to carpet bomb until the desert glows doesn't make you sound strong. it makes you sound like you're in over your head. >> reporter: but republicans contend that the former secretary of state didn't do enough to prevent the rise of isis. >> she talks about me being dangerous. she's killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity. >> reporter: the clinton campaign told us that comment didn't deserve a response, and tonight clinton said the country can't give in to demagoguery, a clear reference, scott, to trump and his proposal to ban muslims from the u.s. >> pelley: nancy cordes on the campaign trail. nancy, thank you. well, the president's been telling us not to let fear control our lives. our dr. jon lapook talked to an expert on the health effects offf fear. clinical psychologist dr. justin sinclair.
think is different about this, you know, this threat is, again, it's ongoing. people sort of can't know when and where or how it's going to happen. it's this thing that never ends, and it is ubiquitous. it's everywhere. >> reporter: how does that affect their lives? >> they tend to avoid different aspects of their lives. they fly less, they ride on public transportation less. they go into public settings less. there's been research that has shown they have a tendency to engage people from different cultural backgrounds less. they even consume media less, ironically. >> reporter: what have you learned over the last 10 years of studying this that might surprise people. >> how potent fear can be in terms of altering people's lives and the impact it can have in different aspects of life, whether it's making decisions about a president, whether it's supporting different policies that are important sially, or even down to sort of, you know, how people live their everyday lives. >> reporter: is there a danger to society if people incrementally change their behavior over time because of
>> yeah, i think it sort of changes the structure of our country. it changes the structure of our government. i think, you know, fear can maybe even change things in ways that, you know, weren't consistent with how the country was founded originally. >> reporter: as a psychologist, is there some insight into that? >> i think fear moves people to become much more polarized in their viewpoints, and i think that fear motivates people to, you know, go to further lengths to feel safe. >> reporter: in small doses, fear can be a lifesaver, prompting us to react to danger. but in large doses it can hurt us, causing fatigue, depression, even heart attack and stroke. dr. sinclair says it's important to continue normal routine if possible. if fear starts taking over and you find yourself anxious and avoiding things he says it may be time to get professional help. >> pelley: fascinating interview. dr. jon lapook, thanks very much. well, a plumber in texas has certainly been anxious to tell anyone who will listen that he
anna werner has his story. >> it was just such a shock when it happened. i-- you know, i didn't know what to say. >> reporter: when houston-area plumbing company owner mark oberholtzer sold his truck to a local dealer in october of 2013, he had no idea it would wind up on syria's front lines being used by islamist fighters with his plumbing company name and phone number still on the side. >> you know, it hurts my feelings that anyone could possibly think that we were connected to terrorism in any way. >> reporter: he says he was assured by the dealership that it would remove his information before selling the truck, but there it was in the photo, which then went viral. >> that country is going down the toilet but for the first time, they know who to call to unclog it. >> reporter: it was featured on the last episode of the "colbert report" seen by millions of people earlier this year.
of phone calls like this one. >> reporter: here's how the truck left the country. oberholtzer sold the truck to an autonation dealership in houston, which sent it to an auction near dallas. then a used car dealer maz auto bought the truck the manager confirms with the lettering still on it and advertised it for sale on their web site. manager mohamed alkhawam said someone called from an international phone number to buy it for use in turkey. >> reporter: it's not known exactly how the truck then made it's the way from mersin, turkey to syria. >> used to have mark 1 plumbing would come up on the internet. now it comes up mark 1 plumbing inc. isis. >> reporter: he is now suing the autonation dealership that sold the truck. they did not respond to requests for comments but an executive
houston they thought the auction company was removing the decals. scott, the auction house couldn't confirm for us that they sold the truck. >> pelley: anna werner, thank you very much. on the second day of deliberations, jurors said they are deadlocked in the trial of a baltimore cop charged in manslaughter in the death of freddie gray. the judge ordered them to keep deliberating. gray was fatally injured in a police van. officer william porter had not buckled him in or called for medical help. parts of baltimore were burned and looted last spring as anger boiled over. why has no snow fallen in one of america's snowiest cities? and prices soar as a prime minister's collection goes up
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driving nearly impossible. but in the east, the seasons are all out of whack. april's cherry blossoms are blooming now in d.c. after a week in the 60s and 70s. and you'd barely recognize buffalo. jericka duncan is there. >> reporter: the last time we visited janice anzalone we were sitting on her snow-covered roof. this is back-breaking work. >> definitely. >> reporter: want to go back up there? >> no, i don't ever want to go back on the roof ever again. >> reporter: in november of 2014, two major snowstorms dumped more than seven feet of snow in buffalo's suburbs in 48 hours. public works commissioner steve stepniak says the city had blown through its $6 million snow removal budget. do you miss it a little bit? i mean, it keeps you guys in business. >> yeah, there's something in me that does miss it a little bit, but it's there. it's going to be here eventually. >> reporter: but 'tis the season to break records. this is the latest buffalo has gone without snow since 1899.
it's a phenomenon that has warmed ocean water in the pacific that in turn has led to a strong flow of mild air blowing in from the west. at the same time, a polar jet stream is keeping the cold air bottled up and away from the northeast. meteorologist eric fisher: >> and last year we had a fairly weak polar vortex which allowed big dips and big ridges allowing the cold air to move southward. this year it's spinning very tightly around the arctic, and that's where it's expected to stay. >> reporter: these systems have created extreme weather conditions on both coasts. the west is suffering through storms and flooding. in the buffalo area, the only real signs of winter are christmas decorations. lake-effect snow could hit buffalo on friday, and, scott, the national weather service is saying next week temperatures i could be in the 50s, possibly near 60, on christmas eve. >> pelley: jericka duncan in balmy buffalo.
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the former corrections officer wields only two weapons -- kindness? >> why weren't you at church yesterday? >> reporter: and grit. >> is that your car? >> reporter: has any of them ever hurt you when you confronted them? >> no. >> reporter: you can handle yourself? >> yeah. >> i don't see them as bad people. i see them needing help. i think it's respect. i try to respect them, also. i'll give you an example. most of our young people nowadays walk around with their pants halfway down. you all right? >> we're all right. >> what i usually do is say, "hey, i look like the color of those underwear," and they'll pull their pants up. >> reporter: by day, she delivers donated bread. >> thank you, bye! >> reporter: you've kind of adopted the people in this neighborhood. >> i think so. either that or they have adopted me. hey! >> reporter: behind the bluster, she says, are young people who
>> father god in the name of jesus. >> reporter: april bentley says she used to be a prostitute until she met mama freeman. >> she said to me, "you don't have to live that life." she planted a seed that no one actually had planted before. i love you. >> reporter: a seed of hope, and the realization that no matter how bad things are, there's always someone, even on the tough streets of milwaukee-- >> why you all waiting over here? you all scared? >> reporter: ...who cares. don dahler, cbs news, milwaukee. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by